November is Woman Abuse Awareness Month in Ontario

I was driving the other day and saw a banner proclaiming that November is Woman Abuse Awareness Month.  I have been “tweeting” with Girl Guides of Canada and a few others today about how each of us promote girls’ self-esteem and I wondered if low self-esteem is related to being abused as a woman.

While looking for information, I found 14 characteristics of abused women on Dr. Annie Kaszina’s blog.  (Go to her website for more information.)

Dr. Annie listed the following (I put things related to low self-esteem in bold):

*It is important to remember that characteristics are not the same as character or nature.

The 14 characteristics common to abused women are:

  • Abused women have to guess at what normal behaviour is.
  • Abused women have difficulty maintaining their focus and drive.
  • Abused women are often paralysed by their own negativity so that they find it hard to start something new and an uphill struggle to see it through.
  • Abused women judge themselves without mercy.
  • Abused women feel they always have to justify themselves.
  • Abused women have difficulty being light-hearted.
  • Abused women have difficulty trusting.
  • Abused women take everything very seriously.
  • Abused women overreact and catastrophize even over small problems.
  • Abused women faithfully record every last criticism they experience and they discount the praise.
  • Abused women need approval and affirmation and tend to look for it in all the wrong places.
  • Abused women usually feel that they are different to other people as a result of their relationship.
  • Abused women are extremely loyal, even despite the evidence that their loyalty is undeserved.
  • Abused women envisage a future that will be just as hard as the present.

Dr. Annie also says, “Whether or not you feel able to shift these characteristics right now, please bear in mind that they are superimposed, they are not an integral part of you.”

I had a hunch that low self-esteem could lead to being in an abusive relationship, but Dr. Annie highlights specific traits that emphasize this.  It is so important to become a confident young woman in order for that high self-esteem to translate into adulthood.  I would also like to point out that although there are common characteristics for abused women, abuse is never ok and it is never the abused person’s fault.  I just want girls to know that if they continue down a path of negativity and self-deprication and don’t treat themselves well, it can allow someone else to also not treat them well.

Remember that you are unique and you have the power to do anything.  You are wonderful and deserve to be treated with respect and dignity.

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2 thoughts on “November is Woman Abuse Awareness Month in Ontario

  1. Hi there,
    And thank you for quoting my blog post. You are absolutely right that the path of negativity and self-depreciation leaves young girls – and women – very vulnerable to abusive partners, and abusive people in general.

    You’ve made me wonder what I would tell my younger self. I think it would go something like this:
    “Understand that whatever people may tell you, these years are given to you to learn how to be, and treat yourself like a precious person. Sure, it’s not easy. People will tell you that you need to be ‘cool’. What ‘cool’ really means is trying to earn approval from your peer group by doing things to impress – things that are damaging to you. These are years that you can use to fit in, and box yourself into a caricature of who you truly could be. Or you can use them as an apprenticeship in magic, when you learn to discover the magic of who you are. Do that, and your lifelong reward will be creating around you the magic of people who love you for all that is best in you. So, a quick rule of thumb: when people make fun of you, put you down, reject you, criticize you unfairly, or demand that you be other than you are, they aren’t interested in the best in you, or what’s best for you. They’re only interested in what they want from you, selfishly. You deserve far better than that. Nurture a belief in yourself. Do not turn to other people in the hope that they will do it for you. It’s your job. Believing in yourself WILL bring you rich rewards of love and happiness.”

    • Dr. Kaszina,
      Thank you for your reply! What a great message to send to your younger self and to young girls today.
      I hope it’s alright with you that I reposted this message so everyone who visits the blog can see it.
      Sincerely,
      Jessica

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